Speaking of Maxxums...

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by andy_collins|1, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. I have been reading about the Minolta Maxxum 9 and Maxxum 7. I know next to nothing about these cameras and would love to learn more. How do these two cameras compare to each other? What are the differences that would make one more desireable than the other, and how do these cameras compare to the equivalent Canon or Nikon bodies?
  2. I bought a new Maxxum 7 about 10 years ago, and the only difference I could see between it and a Maxxum 9 was that the 9 had a lot more lights, bells and whistles that I didn't need. The 7 was a really good camera, even given the fact that the electronics fried during a road trip and it cost about $200 to repair. One of the features I liked was the memory storage of exposure info. I went to MF shortly after I got the camera back from repair and neglected the 7 for a long time after, so I finally sold it off.
    This is a shot from a couple of days befire it crashed:
  3. Beautiful shot, William! Your experience with your Maxxum 7 brings up a point I'm curious about, namely the ruggedness of these cameras in light of the electronics frying in your camera. I know the Maxxum 9 was considered a pro-grade camera, aimed at the photogs who might consider the EOS 1-series or Nikon F5 at the time. Was the 7 as rugged or was it more of a serious enthusiast/pro camera, similar to the relationship between Canon's EOS 3 and 1-series? How were the lenses rated compared to Canon's and Nikon's?
  4. While the 7 has enough features to satisfy many pros, the 9 is better sealed against moisture and dust, has a higher top shutter speed (1/12,000 sec. vs. 1/8,000 sec.), and more metal in the body. Also, the Maxxum 9 shutter allows X-sync at up to 1/300 second so the need for high speed sync flashes is largely eliminated.
  5. Mike has clearly paid more attention than I did to the differences between the 7 and 9 - or his memory is better ;-) . His point about the 9's superior sealing may have been a factor in my 7's crash, although I do tend to treat cameras delicately, keeping them in foam-lined hard cases when not actually shooting. I have not heard anything about other 7s having that particular problem, so it may have been an anomaly (lucky me!) As for comparison with contemporary Canon/Nikon lenses and cameras, sorry, no help there. The 7 was my first really serious camera purchase and I've been through 3 or 4 other cameras since, and my memory ain't what it used to be...
    Thanks, guys, for the comments on the shot. I hadn't looked at it for a long time, and you've inspired me to add it to my PNet portfolio...
  6. The Maxxum 7 is the most advanced film camera ever made, other than perhaps the Nikon F6.
    Many more features than the 9, but not as rugged or waterproofed. Still, it is a very robust and well made camera. i have over 950 rolls on my 7, bought new about 6 years ago.
    Best features IMO include Mid Roll Film Change, Calculated Depth of Field displayed when D lenses (even zooms) are used, built in Wireless Remote Flash (Minolta was first here), full EXIF data recording and download to computer, super bright and crystal clear GLASS pentaprism/viewfinder, ability to use USM/SSM lenses, and the ultra fast and accurate autofocus.
  7. Forgot to add the graphical histogram that showns the readout of each segment in the metering sytem, and where you will blow the highlights/shadows.
    Plus, awesome ergonomics.
    And lastly, the camera just plain looks cool!
  8. Shots taken with the Maxxum 7 and the classic lens introduced with it, the 24-105. A very good and compact lens that balances perfectly on the 7.
  9. Andy - it's interesting you are expressing interest in the Minolta evolution here as you do in our classic forum. Let me tell you, it is not unwarranted. The Maxxum system is comprised of wonderful cameras and superb glass, no buts about it. If I had to pick from the big modern 4 (Nikon, Canon, Minolta or Pentax), I would definitely go with Minolta.
    I like how they feel and how they handle in general; I have tried Canon EOS 3 which I bought new in 2003, Nikon N90, N80, but I still find myself relying more on Maxxums when I just want to focus on composition and worry less about focusing and exposure. My honeymoon cameras in in 2003 believe it or not were a pair of Maxxums, a 7000 and a 5000. I still use the 7000 occasionally even though AF is slower, because I really like that camera (In my profile picture, I am actually holding a Maxxum 7000 at DuPont Gardens some 8 years ago).
    As far as the modern Maxxums, don't know much about 9, and 7 looked impressive, but was not too fond of it. I have stuck with SI line, which are superb in a lot of respects; These are my main AF cameras, a Minolta 800SI and a 700SI as a backup. Give them some consideration, even though I am aware you have been a Canon guy for quite some time.
  10. Randall, you are very convincing. The 7 sounds like it's worth exploring, although any camera has a lot of ground to cover to compare favorably to the EOS 1v IMHO, and the F100 is also a tough act to beat.
    Ralf--I was hoping you'd chime in as I consider you my major Minolta resource person. It says a lot that you prefer your Minoltas over the likes of the EOS 3 which has a legendary reputation. Knowing how much innovation and engineering went into older Minoltas (the XD11 and XE1/7 come to mind) it's not surprising that the Maxxums would spring from the same innovation. I may give one of these a try, but I'm still not sure which. I remember reading a lot of great things about the SI bodies as well. Choices, choices...hope you're doing well and not buried under too much snow, by the way!
  11. Doing well, just not much time to do what some of the things I love most, one of them discussing film photography with you, Louis, Rick, SP, JDM etc.
    Anyway, send me an email, I would like to offer you some stuff that may pique your interest.
  12. Excellent! Email sent!
  13. With the exception of the 9's (especially the titanium finish model), most film Maxxums are bargain priced.
  14. I have quite a few manual and autofocus Minolta models, including the Maxxum 9xi and 7, if you have specific questions. I have comparable MF models of Canon, Nikon and Konica, and two AF Nikons. (I had to draw the line somewhere).
    I just emerged from a deep Minolta cycle, shooting all my 35mm film stuff on that brand for several months. I am just beginning a revisit of old Nikons, so catch me while the Minolta info is still fresh in my mind.
    A quick overview for me is I am amazed at the quality of the Minoltas, which my snobbery prevented me from even thinking about during their run as supported commodities. Now that they are history, literally, I am just discovering the intense commitment to engineering innovation and quality that the company showed, often well ahead of the Nikon and Canon curve. When I got my Maxxum 7 in the mail, it was one of the biggest surprises of my 40 year involvement in photography.
    Having said that though, I have to wonder if the Nikon "feel" isn't too deeply ingrained in my synapses for me to abandon it completely. I recently acquired an F2 Photomic to use with my non-ai lens collection, and putting the 85 1.8 on it and holding it to my eye brought deep, irrational pleasure.
    The whole year has been a challenge to my preconceptions.
  15. Jeff, what specifically surprised you about the Maxxum 7, and of the other brands, which models would you compare it to? I am playing with one now and find it to be very intriguing. The more I use it the more it grows on me, but when I pick up my 1v or F100, they give me that same "deep, irrational pleasure".
  16. The biggest surprise in acquiring the Maxxum 7 was that, in my view, it set a clear course for all significant camera body design in the following decade, including digital. This is just my impression of course, and someone closer to these issues could argue this.
    It feels great, if a bit on the lightweight side, in my hand and it works without issue at the eye and reflex level for capturing fleeting photo ops. I tend to shoot with the mindset of a street photographer, always aware of lighting conditions and always anticipating possibilities, so I narrow the range of my shooting choices considerably before I am in a situation that requires reaction...often it is simply a matter of compensating the exposure a stop or two in either direction, or manually focussing on an eyelash or particular flower petal the AF refuses to prefer over other points. The gap between manual and fully automated photography is not, thereby, as wide for me as it would be for many people.
    I can't afford to get a 9 at the moment for comparison purposes, as I am rebuilding a Nikon non-ai outfit that got decimated in the 90s due to theft. I have a 9xi, which is built like the 9000 with stainless steel body and environmental seals superior to the rest of the Maxxum line. It is also perfectly balanced, and not incidentally to me a magnificent piece of industrial design, a milestone in 20th century machine art...its lack of affordances (buttons, knobs, switches etc) on the sleek body detracts from use but enhances the Porsche-like silhouette. Maybe a little irony there. After the 9xi the Minolta engineers undertook a massive user survey among pros and reverted to the knobs and buttons.
    I doubt I will travel with my Nikons any more. I suspect the build quality and lightweight materials of the 7 will give it preference in the travel kit. I have absolute confidence in its auto exposure, and very little confidence in any auto focus scheme. The prime normal, 100-300 AF Minoltas I own and the Promaster 18-35 wide zoom provide a full range of excellent resolution and color for one shoulder bag in any shooting environment I am likely to encounter. I don't know what my advice is worth, since my synapses were formed in the 60s and tend to override my head when it comes to "loving" equipment. I love my 1920's 2.25"x2.75" Graflex reflex camera in a way I will never love a plastic coated camera, ever. I love the hand-built quality of the F2 in a way I will never love an automated production line 80s or later camera, no matter how much I admire the engineering genius behind the product. So there you go.

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